Chapter 6


“I don’t know why we didn’t notice sooner,” said Luke as he stood with Ludovic looking at the jumbled remains of the two skeletons still partially encased in mud. “I suppose it’s all a bit of a mess, so the extra bones didn’t stand out until we had done the fine clearing around the pelvis.”

“Yes,” said Ludovic, “and the foetus is quite small. I’d guess twenty-eight weeks judging by the skull.” He crouched down. “Two adults. One male and one pregnant female. Probably embracing. It’s a very unusual burial. If it was bronze age I’d say ritualistic, perhaps a sacrifice. But not in seventeenth century Christian London.”

Luke walked around to the other edge of the trench.

“And what do you make of this,” he stooped to poke lightly at a flattened black shape just sticking out beneath one of the longer bones. “We knew it was textile almost immediately, but I can’t make out the material. It’s not leather and the weave is much to fine to be wool.”

“Silk?” said Ludovic.

“No one has ever found silk still visible and pliable after five hundred years in wet clay. It’s more likely to be wool or jute or something, but the weaving technique is a new example.”

“Well we can work that out later,” Ludovic stood up, “meanwhile we need to put the awning over this so the rain doesn’t damage the sample and then get the rest of the our couple uncovered so we can do some accurate dating.”

He climbed out of the trench and instructed two of the students to move the flysheet to provide a partial umbrella over the skeletons. As they manoeuvred the canvas he looked down to position the poles. He stopped suddenly.

“What’s that?” He pointed.

Luke and the students all looked. The tent pole had scored a shallow furrow in the mud to the edge of the trench. A narrow trickle of water was running along the furrow and trickling along a crooked path down the side of the section, dislodging small specks of grit. It dripped into the base of the trench where the skeletal ankle bones still disappeared into the mud and the feet lay buried. As each drip fell it uncovered a little more of a dull red object alongside the age-browned bone.

Luke stepped forward, knelt in the wet mud and rubbed with a bare finger. He scooped the clay from underneath and then quickly thrust all his fingers into the soil and dug.

They all recognised it at the same time. Luke pulled and they gasped. The stained red sole of a training shoe flopped out of the trench wall and slapped on to the ground. Pale muddy water pooled slowly in the affirmative tick of a Nike swoosh.

One Response to “Chapter 6”

  1. unexpected!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: